The "Alessandro Casagrande" International Piano Competition, was founded in 1966 to honour the memory of the musician from Terni, artist and composer who died prematurely, and from whom it takes its name. It represents an intense cultural commitment for the town of Terni, which has the good fortune of hosting participants from different countries, displaying outstanding results and talent from many of the most important music schools in the world. Since 2002 it has been organised by the same Foundation and enjoys the support of the Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities – Live Entertainment Department and the Umbria Region.
Since 1975, Casagrande is one of the few Italian international piano competitions to take part in the prestigious Fédération Mondiale des Concours Internationaux de Musique of Geneva, and represents one of the most important artistic and musical events in Umbria.
In the Assembly of the Fédération Mondiale des Concours Internationaux de Musique held at Odense (Denmark) in May 1997, the Casagrande Competition was elected member of the Executive Committee to represent Italy, out of 105 Competitions belonging to the Federation, nomination that was reappointed for another three years in the general Assembly in March 2000 at Pretoria (South Africa). In its editions it has awarded young winners such as Marta Dejanova (1970, Bulgary), Boris Petrushansky (1975, Russia), Alexander Lonquich (1977, Germany), Ivo Pogorelich (1978, Yugoslavia), Dmitri Vorobief (1994, Russia), Yuka Imamine (1996, Japan), Alexei Nabioulin (1988 Russia), Giuseppe Andaloro (2000, Italy), Herbert Schuch (2004, Germany).
In the 30th Edition held in May 2014, it lived up to its celebratory character (50 years since the death of Alessandro Casagrande), with 121 registered competitors coming from 30 different countries. With such an important participation it seals the symbolic, artistic and cultural importance of one of the most prestigious piano competitions on the international musical scenario which has always been committed in renewing approaches and methods of musical communication in contemporary society. The prestigious international jury awarded Zhi Chao Julian Jia, 23 years old, Chinese, with a European musical training, winner of the First Prize. The Second Prize was awarded to Yuan Jie, 25 years old, also Chinese, and the Third Prize to the Russian Alexey Sychev, 25 years old. The result was communicated at the end of an anticipated Final Trial with orchestra, Saturday 24 May 2014, which was held for the first time in Rome at the Great Hall of La Sapienza University, during the University Concert Season. An evening that thrilled the large audience, as well as being followed live on radio – as custom - by RAI-Radiotre.
The President of the Competition is the acting Mayor of the town of Terni.
The Competition is characterised not only by the rigour and efficiency of the organisation, but also by the warm welcome reserved for the young competitors. Ever since the first editions, an ever increasing group of families in Terni offer hospitality to the pianists taking part in the competition for piano study, sometimes even offering board and lodgings.
Over the years the atmosphere which is created has led to the establishment of lasting relationships and significant cultural exchanges. The Competition, in addition to cash prizes, offers a number of scheduled concerts by some of the most important Italian and foreign musical institutions.